Today the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office released some interesting statistics on their dealings with the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Peruse those, as well as HCSO’s polices for dealing with local immigration matters, in the release below:
Immigration enforcement is a prominent issue across the United States. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received many inquires as to our policy on immigration enforcement and our cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office cannot enforce federal immigration laws. It is the policy of the Sheriff’s Office to comply with the state laws and mandates governing law enforcement’s ability to interact and communicate with federal immigration officers. Under the California Values Act, our office does not use money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest persons for immigration violations. The Sheriff’s Office does not inquire into an individual’s immigration status, initiate any law enforcement action based on observations relating to immigration status, use immigration authorities as interpreters for law enforcement matters, detain an individual at the request of DHS/ICE, nor hold an individual in custody past their release date at the request of DHS/ICE. Furthermore, the Sheriff’s office does not separate families based on immigration status.
The Sheriff’s Office does communicate with DHS/ICE under very limited circumstances as described by the existing State Sanctuary Law, SB 54. This communication occurs only in the Correctional Facility when someone is booked into custody for committing a state crime. Everyone that is physically arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility is fingerprinted. This biometric data goes to three government agencies; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of the agencies. Based upon the biometric information, the Sheriff’s Office may receive a request from DHS/ICE for information regarding a certain inmate’s criminal history, status inside the facility and projected release information. Pursuant to the California Values Act, TRUTH Act and TRUST Act, the Sheriff’s Office will release this information if the inmate has been convicted of a serious or violent felony as outlined by Sections 1192.7 and 667.5 of the California Penal Code, or a qualifying conviction pursuant to Government Code 7282.5. The Sheriff’s Office will not release this information if the inmate is being held on charges as outlined by the above sections, but has not yet been convicted and has no prior criminal convictions of those charges. If the inmate does not have a serious or violent felony or qualifying conviction, we do not respond to the request from DHS/ICE.
While DHS/ICE may submit a detainer, or request to hold an inmate past their release date, the Sheriff’s Office does not honor those hold requests. As per our policy, the Sheriff’s Office does not prevent qualifying inmates from posting bail nor do we hold them past their release date. However, if an agent from DHS/ICE arrives at the time and date of the qualifying inmate’s release, the inmate will be turned over to DHS/ICE custody.
-Communications with DHS/ICE-
In 2017, the Humboldt County Correctional Facility received 26 detainer requests from DHS/ICE. Out of those requests, the Sheriff’s Office provided the release dates of five inmates. Those five inmates had been convicted of the following crimes: drug trafficking [HS11352], possession of a controlled substance [HS11350(a)], knowingly renting or making available a space to unlawfully manufacture, store or distribute a controlled substance [HS11366.5(a)], transportation of a controlled substance across county lines [HS11379(b)], and possession of a controlled substance for sales [HS11378]. Out of those five inmates, two were taken into DHS/ICE custody upon their release from the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. One of those inmates was convicted of knowingly renting or making available a space to unlawfully manufacture, store or distribute a controlled substance [HS11366.5(a)] with a prior felony conviction of criminal threats [PC422], while the other inmate was convicted of possession of a controlled substance for sales [HS11378]. (See Figure A below or click here)
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As of Oct. 22, the Humboldt County Correctional Facility has received 32 detainer requests from DHS/ICE for 2018. Out of those requests, the Sheriff’s Office provided the release dates of three inmates. Those three inmates had been convicted of the following crimes: possession or purchase of a narcotic controlled substance for the purpose of sales [HS11351], possession of a controlled substance for sales [HS11378] with a prior conviction of battery against a spouse [PC243(e)(1)], and conviction or conspiracy to sell or traffic a controlled substance containing methamphetamine, amphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP) [HS11370.4(b)]. Out of those three inmates, one was taken into DHS/ICE custody upon their release from the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. That inmate was convicted of possession of a controlled substance for sales [HS11378] with a prior conviction of battery against a spouse [PC243(e)(1)]. (See Figure B below or click here)
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Under current law and policy, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is required to hold a public hearing once a year to detail our communications with and release of inmates to DHS/ICE.
“It is necessary for our agency to communicate with all federal law enforcement regarding dangerous criminals booked into county jails,” Sheriff Honsal said. “This need arises from our obligation to protect all members of our community from those who pose a credible public safety threat, not from a desire to enforce immigration law on a day-to-day basis. This is in full compliance with the TRUST and TRUTH acts passed by the State Legislature.”
-Building Safer Communities-
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal has been working to strengthen relationships with the immigrant community across the county for the last four years. The Sheriff has held several public and private meetings with the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission, members of the immigrant community and representatives from True North, LatinoNet, Promotores, Paso a Paso, Scholars without Borders, Centro del Pueblo and affiliates. These meetings have been focused on creating an ongoing dialogue to build trust and a safer, more informed county. During these meetings, Sheriff Honsal has explained that Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies will not ask for immigration status or verification of citizenship during any public service contact or enforcement action, the Sheriff’s Office does not track immigration status in our records management systems and the Sheriffs’ Office will not conduct joint immigration enforcement actions with DHS/ICE.
“Enforcement of federal immigration laws is not the job of the Sheriff,” Sheriff Honsal said. “The Sheriff’s Office does not, and will not, conduct proactive or reactive immigration enforcement duties in this community. Our top priority in this agency is to investigate crime and make our community safe.”
The Sheriff’s Office is here to serve and protect the public above all else and is dedicated to creating safe communities. We stand firmly with our mission, to provide competent, effective and responsive public safety services to the people of this community. We recognize our responsibility to maintain order, while affording dignity and respect to all persons. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct while serving the people of Humboldt County.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office encourages the community to continue reporting crimes and seeking assistance from our office, regardless of immigration status. Please help us as we work to create a safer Humboldt County.
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You Can Download the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Immigration Policy Here
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